Health

Vaginal Health: 101, Dryness, Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRTs) and Viagra for Her

Vaginal Health: 101, Dryness, Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRTs) and Viagra for Her!
by Akima Taylor
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward-Times

In communities around the world, the vagina seems to be a taboo topic; an irrelevant topic or a touchy topic to say the least. However, in other communities, it seems to be the first line of interest and debate for very loud discussion. People are posting it on social media every minute of the day (so it seems). So, because they are so free, open and loud with talking about their vagina’s, other, communities, at the risk of not sounding like “that” just avoid the topic all together. The more quiet communities end up ignoring their feminine center…our child baring gifts…our pleasure postures. There have been age old habits and ideas about what makes it tick, or what makes it become and stay healthy. Well, I will attempt to touch on just a few structured ideas that may work well in your favor.

What is the vagina?

At the risk of sounding too simple, I will define the vagina. The vagina is an elastic, muscular canal with a soft, flexible lining that provides lubrication and sensation. It connects to the uterus on one end and to the outside world on the other. The vagina received sexual intercourse and is a conduit for menstrual flow from the uterus. During child birthing years, it allows the baby to pass through its canal into the world. Sound like a miracle! Only God could make this, approximately 8 inch canal do so many wondrous things in a life time!

Vaginal Dryness: Who turned off the faucet, and who said I was done!

Vaginal dryness is a VERY common issue for women (believe it or not) of all ages! However, it is more common in women during and after menopause (the stopping of the menstrual cycle with a decline in Estrogen production). Continued vaginal dryness is the tale-tale sign of thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to the decline in estrogen production. During our younger years a thin layer of moisture coats our vaginal walls and stays there uninterrupted! During arousal, more blood flows to the organ, creating more lubricating fluid. But, changes in the hormone levels such as menstrual cycles, aging, child birth, menopause, breast-feeding will all dictate the amount of moisture that is available for comfort.

Signs of Vaginal Dryness

  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Pain or bleeding with sexual intercourse
  • Burning
  • Itching or tingling pain around the vaginal opening

What to avoid

  • Avoid douches: vinegar and/or yogurt. I understand many women still douche after cycles and sex, however, we have discouraged its usage! It is just not beneficial… You end up washing away the necessary and very healthy “flora” that keep your vagina healthy.
  • Avoid hand lotions. These will irritate the sensitive nature of your vagina.
  • Avoid antibacterial or fragrant soaps. OUCH! Antibacterial soaps kill the normal “flora” in your vagina leading to many irritations.
  • Avoid scented toilet paper, detergents, bath oils and bath bubbles. These too can cause irritation.

Many women feel ashamed and will not bring up this with their doctors. However, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. It does not mean you are “getting old” or that someone is going to put you in the “do not use” pile and forget about you! If vaginal dryness affects you in any way, in particular your sex life, please speak with your doctor. Living with vaginal discomfort does not have to be a check mark of “Oh, I’m just getting older”.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Lubricant, Rings and “Viagra for Her”

Over-the-counter, there are many products available to use. Just stroll down the aisle and you will find that it has a variety of products that make many promises… So, look for what you are desiring. If it is sexual, they have that. If it is just for everyday lubrication, they have that too!

Seeking medical advice for your dryness related to hormonal imbalance may give you more structured solution. It has been studied, that in general, treating dryness is more effective with topical applications rather than by taking a pill or applying a skin patch. There are Estrogen Creams, Estrogen Rings and Estrogen Tablets your medical practitioner can prescribe.

I often shake my head in awe at the number of laughs a crowd can inspire with the sheer mention of the work “Viagra” in a commentary! I was telling my sister, “I think people are just nervously laughing. Surely a women finds sexual pleasure a priority.” I continued, “At our age, I am sure we do not care what he does. Just do what-EVER it is you have to do to ‘keep the car going’”! I got a resounding “YES GIRL” from her! And in my years of nursing, I cannot find, in my memory bank, one women who would disagree with the above statement. However, with the use of Viagra for men, women seem to have been left in the dark.

Viagra has been a common use in heart health for a very long time, until in 2008 it was introduced as a “cure-all” for male erectile dysfunction (ED). Women became curious at its effects on their own sex life and so it was tested and trialed. Viagra works on a woman’s clitoris in the same manner it works on a male penis. In women it increases the blood flow allowing orgasms to be reached and to be reached quicker. It does not affect the arousal or desire to have sex… but it is not intended to do that in men nor women. For increase in desires, I will direct you to a sexual therapist.

In conclusion, I must remind you: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE…. Do not reach into the medicine cabinet of your loved one and pop a few of his “little blue pills” and expect it to work and work for you. As you know, I am not an advocate for sharing medicine! That is a No-No! You will need to be thoroughly evaluated by your doctor regarding your heart and hormones before prescribing the correct dose for YOU!

As always, I pray this information has given you the tools for health! As with every week’s article, my focus is to make medical information make sense. I pray this article finds you in perfect peace.

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Vaginal Health: 101, Dryness, Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRTs) and Viagra for Her